9 September 2020
Malvern Town 4 Droitwich Spa 3
Malvern Town completed their pre-season matches with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Droitwich Spa.
It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal in the opening minute when Cox got in a strike that was easy for Kieron Blackburn.
We soon got into our stride when some neat link-up play between Joe Bates and Joe Billingham saw a great chance open up for Matt Turner who side-footed wide.
In our next raid, Billingham’s low effort struck the base of the post before Harry Clark was denied at close range by the ‘keeper.
Our pressure finally told with eight minutes on the clock when Turner fired home beyond the reach of the ‘keeper and just three minutes later we were able to double our advantage when Turner found the net following another neat move.
Some alert defending from Sam Hunt saw him clear an inviting ball in front of goal but from the resulting corner, Louis Loader handled inside the area and our visitors were able to reduce the arrears through Collins.
The goal brought our visitors to life and a cross from Cox was met with a deft header from Allerton which hit the post.
Good link-up play on the edge of the area between Bates and Clark saw the former fire low and just wide.
On the half-hour, Clark played in Turner whose strike was deflected wide and as the ball came back in from the resulting corner, Adam Sauntson was unlucky.
Some defensive hesitation saw Collins lift the ball over Blackburn but it landed just wide of the target.
As half-time approached, a positive run from Billingham ended with him winning a free-kick in a promising position which was deflected by the defensive wall from Hunt into the path of Harry Wickett who was denied by a block.
A long-range effort from Louis Loader flew wide of the mark as a keenly-contested opening period ended with us 2-1 to the good.
An ambitious effort from distance by Adam Sauntson was on target but saved in the opening exchanges of the second half.
It was the visitors who were looking the most likely side as Burgess was denied by a good save from Blackburn. Then a last-ditch challenge from George Hayes saw the visitors win a corner which was tipped onto the crossbar by Blackburn as Collins was alert to guide the rebound home to level the scores.
As we looked to hit back, a stinging strike from Clark was blocked by the ‘keeper but it was the visitors who turned the scoreline on its head when Cox found the net with a free header on 67 minutes.
We were back on level terms just three minutes later when Nathan Chowns-Higgs showed determination to fire home after his initial effort was blocked.
A much better passing move ended with us regaining the lead as Loader lashed home at the second attempt and in the wake of the goal, Clark and then Turner with a header both went close.
The visitors continued to press as a free-kick out wide from Cox caused problems but Braiden-Smith failed to capitalise.
Shortly afterwards another teasing free-kick caused problems as we scrambled clear, whilst at the other end, the visitors’ ‘keeper did well to touch a corner off the head of Platt.
As the clock ticked down, Chowns-Higgs fed Matt Fusco who fired over and then a free-kick in a threatening position for the visitors was fired goalwards but well-watched by James Loader who made the save as we ended pre-season with a hard-earned win